Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More About the Savior of Christmas

What an exciting time of year! Christmas is just days away and it's actually cold outside (for the moment anyway -- enjoy!). This is the season of multiplied joy and increased expressions of love, gratitude and a a renewed awareness of all that Christmas really means. It's so easy to get carried away with the sights and sounds of the holidays -- and without realizing it, make Christmas about all that stuff. I love it, but it's pretty insignificant when compared to God's plan for the ages -- the incarnation -- that God would visit earth in the likeness of human flesh.

Bethlehem's story cannot be overstated. To imagine that the King of Glory would subject Himself to the place of servanthood -- to the pains, emotions -- the emptiness and aloneness that so often come with being human. And still He came, knowing what would ultimately be required as the Only Able Sacrifice for the sins of the human race. God in a manger -- imagine that! But we dare not leave him there.

He hasn't come to give us the warm fuzzies of the Christmas season; He didn't come so that we could have all the "extras" scattered at the base of the tree. All those things are fading and temporal. Jesus came that we might have life -- real life. As John puts it so well in his gospel account of Christmas, 'In Him (Jesus) was life, and the life was the light of men" John 1:4.

In this busy season, why not decide to slow down, gather your thoughts -- make it less about "the stuff of Christmas" and more about "The Savior of Christmas!" ". . . and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins" Mt. 1:21b"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Can You Say "Refreshing?"

We had a wonderful time this past week on our cruise to Cozumel! The weather was great and the ports of call were a real experience too. The ship was excellent -- the special service will really spoil a person. I haven't really been able to assess the damage in terms of weight gain yet, but I'm sure I'll be able to tell in a few days. It's time to diet -- bread and water through the remainder of the holidays (Thanksgiving holidays). I did the Parasail thing -- 400 feet in the air -- exhilirating to say the least but the water was absolutely beautiful from that view; dark blues fading into lighter and finally to an indescribable aqua blue. What fun! Cindy Wilhite sailed with me, while Trina and Josh held the earth down. Anyway, we're glad to be home.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Fest "Thank You's"

A huge "Thank You" is in order to the Christ Church family. The Thanksgiving Fest couldn't have been more successful and everyone who participated -- whether in helping unload the refrigerated truck or packaging the meals for the families or giving so generously in order to provide such a wonderful Thanksgiving meal for the 150 families who came. $28 bucks seems a small price to pay to touch someone so wonderfully with the gospel. For every $28 you provided enough for a family of 6 -- a 4 to 6 lb. ham, 2 lbs. cornbread dressing, 2 lbs. green bean casserole, a pumpkin or pecan pie, 16 oz. cranberry sauce and a bread loaf. There were a lot of happy people leaving Christ Church Wednesday night -- but of all who were so blessed, we were more! To see those people respond to the invitation -- made it worth it all. 16 responded with about half of them making a first time commitment to Christ! Thank You, Lord. All of you who were so open and loving -- you really made an impact. I can't tell you of the reports I've received about people saying how welcome they felt and how much love they received. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm so thankful to be your pastor!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Friends In High Places

Friends are wonderful, aren't they! I mean, it's difficult for me to imagine life without friends -- friends who love me, who pray for me, who listen to me and to whom I hold myself accountable. I'm thankful for those relationships God has so faithfully sprinkled into my life. And while I have friends who don't yet know Christ, I am especially thankful for those who do. Friends in high places -- friends who are seated with Christ in the heavenlies -- these are the ones with whom I have chosen to walk through life. But friendship is a reciprocal engagement. The scriptures teach that in order to have friends, we must extend friendship to others. Have you reached out to a potential friend lately or are you just kind of waiting for someone to reach out to you? Choose to be a friend today -- someone is waiting, maybe even longing for a mutually fulfilling friendship with someone just like you!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sometimes Small Is Better

Sunday after second service, I had the privilege of baptizing a young teen-aged girl. It was all sort of impromptu and so I asked the few remaining worshippers who were still lingering in the lobby to join us in this baptismal celebration. There were probably only 20 people there to witness this young lady's step of obedience in baptism, but it was a really sweet moment and the presence of the Lord was incredible.

This morning was another one of those mornings when God just sort of makes Himself known. I attend an early morning men's group and today -- while there were only 6 of us present, God opened an opportunity for real ministry. It's amazing how people will let their guard down in a smaller setting. We often want the Sunday Celebration to be the place where all "Real Ministry" takes place. That's not always where it happens! This morning, a couple of the men in our group really let their guard down and were open about some of the things they are struggling with. One guy, only been saved for about 4 months, was at the point of tears concerning his personal struggles. His final comment -- "I get really down on myself when I mess up -- but then I think about how far I've come, and it really helps. I'm not where I want to be -- but I'm not even close to where I used to be." That's what I'm talkin' about! Thank God for His infinite mercy -- for the gift of repentance and for His wonderful, ongoing, life-changing work in all of our lives. Sometimes small is better -- sometimes, I like it like that!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Here WE Go!

Thought you might enjoy a few of today's pics. These pics are of the Admin. Bldg. They got quite a bit done today, but there will be a lot more progress next week! I'll keep you Posted!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's Time To Dance!

Oh Happy Day! Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance -- I just want to praise Him -- Just want to praise Him! The first truck load of steel arrived this morning at around 7 with 2 more trucks on the way. This is the first of several more shipments of steel that will be delivered -- the next shipment being scheduled the first week of November. Can you say Hallelujah! It's entirely possible that there will be at least some steel standing before the weekend. Won't it be awesome to see a completed project -- to have room to grow -- to imagine the lives that will be touched and the hearts that will be changed in this new worship space. Just imagine!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oil Change Outreach

What a phenomenal day! 190 volunteers all supporting one purpose -- to show the love of Christ in a tangible way. Thank you -- all of you -- who gave of your time, expertise and resources to change the oil and filter in 103 single moms' cars. Jesus said in Luke 6:35, " . . . do good expecting nothing in return and your reward will be great in heaven." So, there you have it. When you make your life about serving others in the name of the Lord, you'll be assured to hear Jesus' affirmation of your life "well done good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord forever." He continues ". . . Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?' And the King will tell them, 'I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!" Thank you, Christ Church, for being so willing to serve our community.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pray Specifically

I spoke with a young man this week who, with his family, has been attending Christ Church for 8 or 9 weeks. He was telling me how blessed they've been and especially by the series "Prayer Period." He said every Sunday, they've been digesting the message over lunch and last week -- the "Pray Specifically" point really hit home for them. He and his wife have been hoping to buy a home so after church they took out a piece of paper and began to write down the exact specifications that they wanted and needed in a home. They named specific location, bedrooms, bathrooms, style, even -- get this -- no pine trees. I guess they don't like pine straw clogging the gutters or something. Anyway, they began to pray for this specific home. I know, I know -- you're thinking ahead. Jesus did say " You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it . . ." John 14:13. They found the exact home they had been praying for. Let that encourage you to pray specifically -- and watch God answer specifically! Keep on praying!

check this one out -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECX5BVQ2eMw

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's On The Way!

October 22nd will be a day to celebrate! It's just less than 2 weeks away and the first load of steel will be delivered! Thank You, Jesus! The wait has been long, but we are definitely closer than we were. Soon and very soon -- we are going to see the steel. I, like you, can hardly wait. The faithfulness of God cannot be measured. All through this process, we have seen God's grace upon us. From the property acquisition to the Touching Eternity Campaign -- even in our banking relationships, God is true to His word! I had the opportunity to pray with a Community Trust Bank representative on Thursday. As we talked, I just felt compelled to pray for her. So I asked, "Do you mind if I pray for you and your family?" She welcomed it and the spirit of the Lord came so strongly -- I know God is bringing the answer! Get ready for great stuff -- It's On The Way!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Is It Easy?

I'm in Dallas today and tonight attending Covenant Church's Elevate Conference (www.covenantchurch.org). It's been good to connect with some wonderful friends and be blessed by great ministry at the same time. A place like Covenant Church really challenges you to live on another level -- to believe that God can bless His work and that He WILL bless His work. This campus is amazing and the excellence that is displayed brings much glory to God. The crazy thing is that they make it all look so easy. The reality is that a work of this magnitude takes great vision, strong leadership, consistent follow-through, love for humanity and a ton of prayer. All of that sounds very taxing -- but when God gives a vision He gives the power and the grace to bring it all to pass. With God all things are possible -- but that doesn't mean it's always easy!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

God Is At Work

God never ceases to amaze me! I got a call this week from a gentleman in our church wanting to tell me about how God was working in his family. His wife had been in a car wreck 9 years ago and sustained a shoulder injury. As time progressed so did the shoulder problem. The pain became so bad that she couldn't raise her arm. The doctors told her that her rotator cuff was torn and that she needed surgery. Being in pain constantly, the surgery was scheduled. She was in the service one recent Sunday Night when we were believing for the miraculous power of God to be demonstrated among us. She came forward for prayer for her shoulder and several people prayed for healing. She also received prayer from a friend in a service at his church. The results? She is healed -- surgery is cancelled -- the Name of Jesus is glorified! Thank God that His word never fails and that people are still willing to spread the word when God works so faithfully and powerfully in their lives!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Give A Bottle Of Water

Today our staff had the opportunity to sit in on a discussion with Rick Bezet, Pastor of New Life Church, Conway/Little Rock, AR led by Phil Brassfield via webinar. The church is 6 years old and at 6000 in weekend attendance. That happens in 9 services! Rick really challenged our thinking and urged all of us toward greater response to the Great Commission -- as opposed to just getting comfortable with "our church services." I think it's an easy thing to do -- just enjoy our church and forget that we're not called to make ourselves comfortable in church -- but to reach out to the lost in our community and to lead the hungry and the broken to Jesus Christ. It's really not about us! Jesus' death and resurrection is about "lost people" yet we continually make it about what feels good to us; our religious culture, feeding our own needs and forgetting that we're supposed to reach beyond the borders of the physical church. The greatest story ever told must be told continually. We cannot afford to keep quiet about what we know. Who among us would see a helpless woman, dying of thirst, and not give her a bottle of water? Is that not the mandate for every follower of Christ, to give Living Water to those dying of spiritual thirst? Help me pray that God will liberate us from ourselves -- that He will free us to free others with the life-changing power of God's love. Get ready!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday's Second

Wow! Sunday's Second Service never ceases to amaze me. Have you noticed the growth in that service? And what about all the people receiving the Right Hand of Fellowship! On top of that, five people in that service committed their lives to Christ! Then this morning, I got a call from a family who said that both the husband and wife recommitted their lives to the Lord on Sunday. Thank God! Sunday night wasn't too bad either -- it's never too bad when God shows up. He knows exactly what we need exactly when we need it. Here's a little more News You Can Use: We got a call last Wednesday from Whirlwind -- the steel company saying the first load of steel will be delivered in 3 weeks. That puts us back on track after Hurricane Gustav. The steel company is located in Houston, TX and was without power for 2 weeks. Seems some very large jobs got shuffled to the back of production and our job got moved forward. Anyway the Admin. Bldg. and the Prayer Chapel should be here mid-October with steel arriving every 2 weeks until it's all delivered. Thank God, huh?!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

18 Holes of Stink!

Today, I played a round of golf with a few pastor friends at Pine Hills. I really stunk it up, but I had a great time and shared a lot of laughs! When I got back to the church this afternoon, the staff had finished a new stage design. It really looks great and will be a good set for Mia Fieldes on First Wednesday Worship. Many thanks to our wonderful staff -- very gifted and talented people who do whatever it takes to get the job done! Trina and I enjoyed Taco Bell with Morgan, Scotty, Gibson and Theron after we left the church. Those kids are a hoot! It's great being Papa T.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Don't End Up Somewhere Else!

I went to my Wednesday small group this morning @ 6:30. We're studying the book The Faith -- What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It and Why It Matters by Chuck Colson. The discussion is great seeing we have many deep thinking men from various denominations participating. I'm always enlivened by their engagement and love the open discussion about what and why we believe what we believe. Someone said -- and I don't know who -- 'Truth is like a nickel. The more you rub it, the more it shines." I do think that Christians ought to know why and what they believe. Why is Truth important? Another quip fits well -- "If you don't know where you're going, you'll probably end up somewhere else!"

Thanks to all who participated in the Campus Prayer Walks yesterday at Boley and Highland schools. I know your praryerful presence on those campuses will be highly effective.

Blessings your way!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Can You "Believe" It?

The last two Sunday nights I've ministered about faith and the miraculous. We are believing for wonderful reports of God working in the lives of His people. I've not been disappointed. Last Monday I got a call from a faithful young family who had restructured their finances and put themselves on a budget. Things were really tight, though they knew they'd get better if they'd just stick to the plan. On Sunday, they fulfilled their commitment to God in their tithe and honoring their commitment to the Touching Eternity Building Campaign. They had been out the previous weekend, so they gave the amounts for two weeks. It was a real step of faith as they indicated that they were not just running short -- they were broke. The call I got Monday was from an ecstatic and elated BELIEVER giving praise to God. Out of nowhere a check came in the mail -- get this -- for 4 times the amount of their giving on Sunday! God is so faithful!

This afternoon I got a phone call from a dear lady for whom I had prayed on Sunday morning. Here's her testimony. She had cut her finger really badly -- almost off! It had been over a week and the finger was not healing -- she was concerned that she may lose it. So I prayed for her right there in the Common Ground Cafe' and we believed God for complete healing. This morning at around 11 am her daughter looked at the wound and said "Mama, you're gonna have to go get it stitched back up!" At 4 pm, the bandage was coming off, so as she was changing the bandage, she looked at it again -- and there it was as plain as day, new skin -- wound healed -- no scar! That's her testimony! Can you believe it? God can do it! Let me know what God is doing for you. Can't wait to hear.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Just Like Him?

I was reading this morning about how perfectly man, as the crown of creation was formed -- in the likeness of God! The original sin of Adam and Eve has obviously affected our entire world in a very negative way -- all of us included.
I was reminded of the power of the human mind -- and that most scientist estimate that the most brilliant among us use only 10% of their brain. That may even be an over-exaggeration when you think of the possibilities of the human mind. People who are affected by what has been termed as the Savant-Syndrome are severely limited as to their brain function -- and still they can blow YOUR mind by the almost unbelievable ability of their mental capacity in isolated areas.
Max Anders, in his book 30 Days To Understanding The Bible says there are twins in New York who can calculate the day of the week of any date you mention. If asked in which months and years of this century the twenty-first will fall on a Thursday, the brothers can give you the correct answer instantly. Wow! Still another man is legally blind and so severely retarded he can barely speak Yet he draws pictures with crayons that betray the skill of a master and are sold for exorbitant prices around the world. The minds of savants, he says, are like calculators or tape recorders or cameras -- able to capture the specific details of pictures or songs or mathematical formulas and then use those details with exacting precision.
It makes you wonder what man may have been before the fall --it may even give us some insight into what our glorified bodies will be like. Think about what John writes . . . "Yes, dear friends, we are already God's children, and we can't even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when he comes we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is" (1 John 3:22 ) NLT. Want to see some real life action -- check out this 3 minute YouTube video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhcQG_KItZM

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bug Juice!

I had a great afternoon at "Grandparents Snack-Day" with Gibson. I went all out, I thought. His favorite snack is an Ice Cream Sandwich but I had to figure out how to keep it frozen while I drove out to his school. So I went to Wal-Mart -- bought one of those flexible/zippered coolers ($3.28), put ice in it and was on my way to Woodlawn Elementary. I stopped at a convenience store on the way and got 2 Ice Cream Sandwiches -- and in case he wanted something to wash it all down with -- a bottle of "BugJuice" -- a fruit drink with a sports top on it. I put it all in the little ice cooler thing and was so proud of myself. I knew he was gonna be excited about the Ice Cream Sandwiches. I got there to a packed house -- 20 kids each with a grandparent -- plus 2 teachers. It was very crowded in there. Gibson was excited to see me -- ran over to me and gave me a big hug. That was worth the Ice Cream. I opened the cooler and exposed the Ice Cream Sandwiches. We each began to eat -- while he continued to rummage through the cooler. I had a Starbucks Mocha for myself and his eyes landed on the BugJuice. Immediately he said -- "I'm not very hungry -- I just ate lunch." This after only a couple of bites of ice cream. I'm thinking -- "What about your favorite snack here?" "I'm thirsty" he said. So the BugJuice was a hit. He sucked the bottom out of that thing -- which by the way , gave him a red tongue that he was pretty proud of. He first looked at himself in the mirror and then went around the room showing his friends his red tongue. It was all a pretty good experience, especially for such a "Young" Papa T!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thirsty Truck!

Can you believe it? I was getting my truck washed and someone said that you can't get gas anywhere in town. I left the car wash and noticed that Super 1 had all it's pumps roped off. The next station i came to was Chevron -- Nth 7th at Cypress Streets. All the pumps had yellow bags over the handles. Whoa! I've gotta go find some gas for my thirsty truck!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Blogger Alert!

Okay, Morgan has helped me set up this blog spot. So if it looks cheesy -- blame her!